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Preparing for a Divorce in Northern Virginia? What Steps Do I Take?

DiPietro Law Group, PLLC

Reasons to Consult with a Family Law Attorney When Beginning the Divorce Process

It is often the case that individuals contemplating next steps in the divorce process do not know what to do, and wonder whether they should consult with an experienced family law attorney. Divorcing spouses often underestimate the value of good legal advice. It is important to be informed as you make decisions that will bear on your children and finances for many years to come. An experienced family law attorney in Northern Virginia can keep you informed throughout the entire divorce process.

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What to Expect

Your family law attorney will begin by gathering information. My first questions are typically very open-ended and I seek to learn as much as possible about the new client. Often times, the consultation begins by simply asking what it was that led the person to contact DiPietro Law Group for their family law issue. This typically begins a meaningful discussion about the person’s family, and the problems that are leading to divorce.

What Will I Talk About With my Divorce Lawyer?

After your divorce lawyer learns more about the problems that are causing the breakdown of the marriage, the conversation will likely turn to matters that are under the jurisdiction of the court – property division and allocation of marital debts (called equitable distribution in Virginia), spousal support, child custody, visitation, and child support. At this early stage of the divorce consultation, the focus will still be largely on information gathering. Your divorce lawyer should seek to fully understand your situation. Family law cases in Northern Virginia, and elsewhere, are very fact-driven. Therefore, the more your divorce lawyer knows about you, the better he can represent you.

How Long Will Getting Divorced Take?

This is one of the most common questions people ask, and rightfully so. Divorce is one of the most difficult situations most people will ever have to deal with. Most divorce cases can be resolved as soon as the parties agree on the terms of separation – property division, spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support. In most cases, this is easier said than done. Often times, an agreement is not possible and extensive negotiation and litigation are required to reach a settlement. Though most of DiPietro Law Group’s cases never see the inside of a courtroom, litigation is sometimes required to achieve a suitable result. The longer the disagreements last, the longer the case takes. If you cannot settle your case, it may take as long as 12-18 months to resolve, but every case is different.

How Much Will Getting Divorced Cost?

The vast majority of divorce lawyers in Northern Virginia and elsewhere charge for their time by the hour. It follows that the cost of the case depends on how much time your divorce lawyer needs to spend bringing it to a resolution. Sometimes settlements in Northern Virginia divorce cases are not possible and extended negotiation and litigation is necessary, which naturally is more expensive than a quick settlement. The cost of your Northern Virginia divorce case largely depends on complexity and level of conflict. High-conflict divorce cases cost more, because the attorney has to spend more time working on the case. Likewise, complex cases involving assets, or child custody, require the divorce lawyer to spend more time working on the case to make sure the client is properly represented.

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